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Double Recipient Twitters Transplant Olympic Training and Tackles Nursing School
Date:8/25/2009

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 102,000 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant and a second chance at life; and a Slidell, Louisiana resident is making the most of his second chance. Kidney and pancreas recipient Nic Whitacre is training for the 2010 Transplant Olympics, twittering his progress, and furthering his education to become a Registered Nurse. Whitacre is hoping to offer a unique and personal level of hope and understanding by caring for transplant patients just like him.

Nic received a double transplant at Ochsner Medical Center on March 28, 2008. "When I was lying in the recovery room after my transplant, I thought to myself; what can I do if I'm given the opportunity to live?" said Whitacre. "Right then, I knew that becoming a nurse would be my way to give back and offer a new level of empathy to transplant patients," he adds.

Following his transplant, Nic, 47, enrolled in Delgado Community College to prepare for nursing school, and he'll begin the Charity Nursing Program in January 2010. Following 18 months of nursing school, Whitacre will become a registered nurse. "My goal is to work in a transplant step-down unit and eventually on a surgery team. My health has been fully restored and this is the least I can do," said Whitacre.

In honor of his young donor, in August of 2010, Whitacre will run in the Transplant Olympics in Madison, Wisconsin. At a very young age, Whitacre was diagnosed with diabetes and vision loss, and gastroparesis, nerve damage and kidney failure were just a few of the complications that followed - all of which hindered his physical fitness. After 33 years, Whitacre is no longer a diabetic and his kidneys are functioning normally. His good health, along with months of training, will take him across the 5K finish line next August.

"I'm working to beat the previous record, so I'll have to run about a six minute mile," said Whitacre, who is Twittering his training progress to encourage other transplant patients to get active. Twitter is also a way for Whitacre to get the word out about becoming a registered organ donor. "Most people don't realize that you can take 10 seconds to register to become an organ donor online - take the time, you may save a life," he adds.

To register to become an organ donor, visit www.donatelife.net


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SOURCE Ochsner Health System
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